Review: Royksopp – Senior

Naturally, as we travel through this life, our emotions and attitudes change and the blissful, naive days of our youth slide further and further away. As these innocent times fade, so do the memories, up to the point where our perception of experiences becomes unclear and hazy. One is ultimately left with the haunting urge to recapture said youth whilst dealing with the hard times ahead.

Too bleak?

Well, somehow Norwegian electronic wizards Röyksopp have managed to capture this feeling of dread within a glorious spectrum of sound and colour, making the whole idea of depression fade like a distant memory.

Senior, along with it’s predecessor Junior, appears as a segment in a project from Röyksopp concerning the jaded experiences and emotions of being both young and old. In Junior, the concepts of feeling young, energetic and full of life were beautifully personified through a mix of high tempo electronic dance tracks, and soulful, heartfelt ballads, which culminated in a positive experience in the form of a dream like state for the listener, as past memories were rekindled. With Senior, Röyksopp have purposely steered away from this positivity, and have produced a less sugar coated vision of life upon waking from the dream that Junior painted.

From the opening gentle rise of ‘…And The Forest Began To Sing’ the listener begins to feel part of something bigger. As the mesh of sounds start to collide in the introduction, the heavier theme of the album is born. This incestuous nature to the wall of sound on this collection stands in direct contrast to the production of Junior, which appeared more polished in comparison. A hint at the distortion of one’s past memories perhaps?

The album flows along this path, through the glitchy awkwardness of ‘The Alcoholic’, the sedated lull of ‘The Drug’, and the paranoid claustrophobia of ‘The Fear’; all generating a more closed in, yet somehow comforting ride for the listener. There are also cheeky nods to previous moments in Junior, such as the re-imagining of the former album’s ‘Tricky Tricky’ in the latter’s ‘Tricky Two’, again symbolising how an earlier attitude has changed. Past Röyksopp memories can also be found in the laid back nature to the collection, which was so prominent in the group’s first venture, Melody A.M..

As Senior draws to close in the vast atmospheric ‘A Long, Long Way’, the suggestion that there is light on the other side of the darkness can be drawn, in turn making this collection of tracks not just an album, but a work of art; taking the listener on a spiritual journey through one’s fears and emotions. Having now achieved this enlightenment on both projects, Röyksopp truly stand as masters in their craft, and within the electronic dance genre as a whole. The only decision now is whether one chooses to deal with the angst of modern life, or to return to the brighter days of naivety. If Junior was a dream of forgotten youth, then Senior is a nightmare of bleak futures. Sleep well!


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